Major League Baseball's winter meetings have arrived, and you know what that means.

Plenty of literal meetings from Sunday to Wednesday? Well, yeah. But also a rush of free-agent signings and trades, so we put our prediction hats on and tried to guess which players will go where.

With Jacob deGrom's $185 million megadeal with the Texas Rangers having broken a general stalemate on the open market, we operated under the assumption that things will be hotter in free agency than on the trade market. Our list of 10 predictions is thus a lopsided split between eight signings and two trades.

As for how we made our predictions, we stuck to the usual blueprint: a whole lotta rumor-mongering and dot-connecting concluding in shrug-fueled best guesses. We otherwise broke things down by the general logic of the proposed partnerships.

We'll check them off domino-style, with the idea being that any move that happens will invariably lead to another move elsewhere.

 

Aaron Judge Re-Signs with the Yankees

What's the Buzz?

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the San Francisco Giants came away from their meeting with Judge in November feeling "elated." A good sign for them, right?

In concept, sure, but those vibes could explain the New York Yankees' apparently hardened determination to retain Judge. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, they made the reigning American League MVP an offer in the neighborhood of eight years and $300 million and "could increase it."

Why It Works for the Yankees

As much as Judge's age, size and injury history make him a boom-or-bust type, the Yankees frankly can't afford to lose his various abilities. Chief among those, of course, is power that supplied an AL-record 62 home runs this year.

Even if Judge never again comes close to his 2022 performance, the Yankees would still get their money's worth if he so much as lived up to his 2017-21 track record. He was good for a 154 OPS+ and 46 home runs per 162 games.

Why It Works for Judge

Put it this way: Judge re-signing with the Yankees is a far better idea than signing with the Giants.

The Giants are only Judge's "hometown" team if you consider Linden (the town, not the street) part of the Bay Area. And whereas the Yankees are a win-now team with a stadium that fits Judge like a glove, Oracle Park is gigantic and the Giants are a fringe contender at best.

 

Cody Bellinger Signs with the Giants

What's the Buzz?

If the Giants miss out on one of the recent MVP-winning hitters on the free-agent market, they could always turn to the other one.

That's Cody Bellinger, who Heyman and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle have reported is of interest to the Giants. He became the market's biggest low-risk, high-reward free agent as soon as the Los Angeles Dodgers non-tendered him.

Why It Works for the Giants

The Giants outfield ranked last in defensive runs saved in 2022. Bellinger, meanwhile, is a Gold Glove Award-winning center fielder.

There's otherwise the matter of Bellinger's fallen offense, as he's gone from a peak OPS+ of 167 during his MVP season in 2019 to just a 64 OPS+ across the last two seasons. Yet the Giants can view Bellinger's bat as a not-quite-lost cause. He's still only 27 years old, and he's now two years removed from a dislocated shoulder and subsequent surgery.

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